beauty and the beach – going au naturel

It’s summer and hot as hell which means less clothes, which means more skin, which means wearing sunscreen. That’s right, it’s the mid-July obligatory sunscreen post.sun2

Here are some natural sunscreens (they all meet the Environmental Working Group’s eco standards for a more natural alternative) that are the SPF equivalent of having your cake and eating it too:

I took this pic of our family cat Frosty a long time ago.  He loved to borrow my sunglasses.     As you can see he took precautions in the sun.  We can learn something from Frosty the cat.
I took this pic of our family cat Frosty a long time ago.  He loved to borrow my sunglasses.  As you can see he took precautions in the sun with his fair fur.  We should too!

Purple Prairie SunStuff: thick and creamy (maybe not necessarily the adjectives you want associated with your sunscreen) with a “distinctive” smell but will do in a pinch (and…no chemicals…so there’s that).

Soleil Toujours Broad Spectrum SPF 30: the gateway mineral sunscreen for newbies: user-friendly (unlike that contouring kit you bought) it absorbs really well into your skin. Only drawback is that it’s not as natural and detoxifying as other products on the market.

Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen: the word “botanica” is so pretty that it almost cancels out how thick this one rubs on. Happily no fragrance or parabens but water lovers beware: it’s only resistant for 40 minutes.

Nature’s Gate Sport Vegan Sunscreen: calling all vegans—this mineral sunscreen rubs in real nice (for a mineral sunscreen) and is 80-minute water resistant, which means you can run in and out of the super cold surf pretending you like it as many times as you’d like.  Bonus: little to no fragrance.

Jurlique Sun Specialist: good for face AND body (hello multitasking) and absorbs pretty quickly. P.S. sadly it doesn’t feel as moisturizing as some of the others but def not a deal-breaker.

Safe Harbor Natural Suncare: rubs on thick (con). Contains natural anti-aging components (pro). Also: fragrant.

Or you can just wear a wet suit.
Or you can forget about it all together and  just wear a wet suit.

And on a more serious note, Lisa from the Garance Doré blog had some questions about the efficiancy of organic sunscreens: Is there a possible downside to going organic? Do they effectively prevent skin cancer? Are there any ingredients in the all-natural versions that could have weird side effects? She talked to Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC to get some answers:

Can you tell me a little bit about your background and why you believe sunscreen is so important?
The risk from the sun is cumulative, so it’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen (no matter how old you are or how much previous sun damage you have).

Are the chemicals in regular sunscreen really that bad for you? If so, what are they (what ingredients/names should we be looking out for?) and what are the negative effects?
The negative effects, if any, of sunscreen have been debated for years. There is no scientific proof that they are harmful.

What are the benefits of using organic sunscreen?
The organic sunscreens are usually less irritating.

Does organic sunscreen prevent skin cancer and sun damage as effectively as regular?
Yes, when used properly.

What is the potential downside of using organic? Is there one? 
It’s more expensive than regular sunscreen, therefore people might skimp on the amount they are using, which could lead to a lower SPF than what is on the bottle.

What ingredients (good and bad) should we be looking out for in organic sunscreen? 
Pure mineral zinc oxide is best.

For someone transitioning to natural sunscreen, what is your advice? 
If you have sensitive skin, even so-called “natural” sunscreens may irritate it, therefore you should start slowly.

Aside from sunscreen, what other measures should people be taking to protect themselves from the sun?
As the weather gets warmer, I would recommend transitioning to a foaming or glycolic cleanser in the summer to keep the pores clean, an antioxidant serum in the morning before SPF and at night, a glycolic or retinol to keep skin turning over. These ingredients will make skin a little more sun sensitive, so use an SPF of at least 30 and wear a hat.

There. Now you can all get back to figuring out whose rooftop/backyard/stoop/front porch you’ll be hanging out on tonight.

Do any of you have any good organic/all-natural/chemical free sunscreen goodness tips to share? 


My latest sunglass obsession are these tortoise/pink cat eyes from Kate Spade.  I think they look terribly chic!  These catty IT girls definitely pull off the look very well.

Ginette Sunglasses
Ginette Sunglasses – Kate Spade
Kate Moss
Kate Moss
The girl King
The girl King
Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian

B Well – Saving Face!

THE TRUTH ABOUT SPF & UVA/B. Healthy Skin Care - Copy   sun2 Listen up, ski bunnies! 

You may not think you have to worry about wearing sunscreen in the winter, but the most damaging rays are still wreaking havoc on your face.  Save your skin with both UVA and UVB protection.  The latest scoop on keeping your skin happy, healthy and younger looking all year long.

When the FDA recently announced it was updating labelling guidelines for sun-protection products, beauty companies noticed.  What’s new?  The buzz is all about UVA – which has been proven to cause the most long-lasting damage to skin health.  Research shows that these rays are the real culprits behind premature wrinkles, dark spots, uneven complexion, inflammation, sagging – even skin cancer.sun1

Right now most products focus on SPF, or Sun Protection Factor as most of you know by now.  But we’re learning SPF measures only UVB levels (the rays that cause sunburn).  So if you’re concerned with aging (and really, who isn’t?), you need to tune in to UVB and UVA protection.  The problem is even if you use broad-spectrum sunscreen, which claims to protect against UVB and UVA, there’s no way of knowing just how much UVA you’re getting because standard guidelines don’t exist in North America.

Enter the FDA’s new labelling regulation, which proposes that suncare products list the UVA protection right on the bottle.  You may already be familiar with this practice if you’ve been shopping in a Paris or Tokyo drugstore, where sunscreen bottles feature one important extra symbol: PA+, PA++ or PA+++.  Also, in the U.K., they’ve embraced the Boots five-star rating

Now Health Canada is re-evaluating its labelling requirements too, and expects to establish its own guidelines for UVA protection soon.  .  Until then, look for products that have science behind them like the following:

La Roche Posay I personally recommend & use: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ tinted extreme fluid.  It’s feels weightless, does the trick and gives a nice sheer tint.

neutrogenaAlso good & less expensive is Neutrogena age shield repair sunscreen with SPF 55.  It goes on light but doesn’t feel sticky or make your face look white.

Clinique broad spectrum moisture surge and Biotherm Skin-Vivo both with SPF 15 were also recommended by Chatelaine Magazine.

**Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health experts – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America. Here’s the link: